Palenque’s Creation Myth Recited by Yohl Ik’nal.
Maya Creation Myth at Palenque was unique. In her transformation to adulthood ceremony, Yohl Ik’nal the first woman ruler of Palenque, recited the creation myth of B’aakal, her people and land. She correctly recited from memory, and was acknowledged as “bearer of the sacred royal blood” by the ruler of Lakam Ha. She became the first woman ruler of Palenque, ruling successfully for 22 years.
From The Visionary Mayan Queen: Yohl Ik’nal of Palenque. Book 1, Mists of Palenque Series.
“It was before the Fourth Creation, in times long ago
Ix Muwaan Mat was born.
Of her birth it is said, she entered the sky
On the Day of Lord (Ahau), Month of Conjuring (Tzek),
For she was to bring the new creation.
Seven tuns after her birth came the new Creation,
When all counts of the long calendar returned to zero.
The Gods of the sky, of the earth, of the underworld
Knew what they must do.
They did three stone-bindings in the sky:
The Jaguar Throne Stone at the 5 Sky House;
The Water Lily Throne Stone at the Heart of the Sky;
The Serpent Throne Stone at the 13 Sky Earth-Cave.
These three stones formed the First Hearth Place,
Patterned the stars so homes on earth would have hearthstones.
Then the Lords of the First Sky took their places:
9 Sky Yoch’ok’in, 16 Ch’ok’in, and 9 Tz’ak Ahau.
These were Lords of the Jeweled Tree
That reached from the Middleworld of earth
Into the Upperworld where the Gods lived.
These Lords required gifts, these bundles were their tribute,
They were adorned with precious jewels, with necklaces and ear spools.
Ix Muwaan Mat adorned them,
She did tribute in the way required.
And also for the new Creation, the underworld Gods were put in order.
The Underworld Ruler K’in Bahlam – Sun Jaguar
Received bundles from the six Lords of the Underworld.
They gave their gifts and all things were in order.
It was done. The Fourth Creation came to pass.
The hearthstones were seated, the Jeweled Tree was raised,
The Lords of the Sky and of the Underworld took their places.
Eight tuns after her birth, Ix Muwaan Mat
Did the Deer Hoof Binding ceremony to designate herself as heir.
She carried the burden of creating the lineage.
The time was not yet, it was still to come, her travail for the lineage.
Two days after the Deer Hoof Binding ceremony,
First Father Hun Ahau entered the sky, sited the House of the North
In the 6 Sky Ahau place, creating the origin-lands of Matawiil.
Now was the time of Ix Muwaan Mat’s travail.
It was time for the birth of the B’aakal lineage.
It happened, 750 tuns after House of the North was sited.
Hun Ahau the Son of First Father was born
Of the penance of Ix Muwaan Mat in the origin-lands of Matawiil.
He is the Lord of the Celestial Realm.
Great was the travail of Ix Muwaan Mat,
For next was born in 4 days a second son,
Mah K’inah Ahau the Lord of the Underworld,
Called K’in Bahlam, the Sun Jaguar, the underworld sun-full moon.
And soon thereafter, 14 days after the second son, was born the third son,
Ahau Unen K’awiil, Lord of the Earthly Realm
And keeper of the royal blood.
Thus were born at Matawiil, through the travail of Ix Muwaan Mat,
The three patron Gods of Lakam Ha, the B’aakal Triad.
Let the people of Lakam Ha always remember their Primal Mother,
For through her comes our life and our sustenance.
One final ceremony was required for creating the lineage of B’aakal.
There must be the sacred office of ahaulel – rulership.
There must be the first k’uhul ahau – ruling lord.
She, Ix Muwaan Mat the Primal Mother,
She first earned the right to tie on the White Headband of ruler.
It was done. 800 tuns after she was born,
Ix Muwaan Mat tied on the White Headband.
Her three sons, the B’aakal Triad
Thought to themselves, this place needs people
To know the Gods, to speak their names and keep their days.
These three decided to create the Halach Uinik-real people.
And then was created the first person, the modeling of the first mother-father,
With yellow and white corn for the flesh, for the bones and legs and arms.
This first person, U K’ix Kan, was simply made and modeled,
There was no mother and no father.
By sacrifice and their uayob (spirit companions) alone
The B’aakal Triad created the first human.
U K’ix Kan, mother-father of the B’aakal lineage,
Tied on the White Headband 1300 tuns after
Ix Muwaan Mat became the first ruler.
Then came the time of duality, the mother-father divided
Into female and male, so the Lords of B’aakal could live in the Middleworld.
This was done, the dividing, by nine maize drinks given by
Grandmother Xmucane, Heart of Earth, Goddess of Transformation.
More than 1200 tuns later,
K’uk Bahlam I was born, he of Toktan.
The birth of a son from a man and a woman, Halach Uinik-real people,
The progenitors of the B’aakal lineage.
The son, the ruler, Holy B’aakal Lord, K’uk Bahlam I
Whose blood flows through all rulers of Lakam Ha.
And in this way the Triad Gods, the three sons of Ix Muwaan Mat,
Created the B’aakal lineage, the founders of Lakam Ha.”
Poetic rendition draws from translations by:
Dennis Tedlock. 2000 Years of Mayan Literature. University of California Press, Berkeley, 2010.
Gerardo Aldana. The Apotheosis of Janaab’ Pakal. University Press of Colorado, Boulder, 2007.